In rotation: 1/15/20

Dallas, TX | Remembering Dallas record store icon Bill Wisener: The Eccentric And Memorable Owner Of Dallas’ Legendary Bill’s Records Was Found Dead In His Shop Over The Weekend. He Was 75 Years Old. Bill Wisener was found dead inside of the iconic Dallas record store that bore his name on Saturday morning. According to the Dallas Morning News, his body was discovered by a customer who showed up to his Lamar Street shop at around 11 a.m. looking to buy some records. But the doors to the store were locked, and, through the windows, the customer could see the iconic shop owner slumped in his usual spot behind the checkout counter. Paramedics arrived shortly thereafter and confirmed the worst — that Wisener, who had taken to sleeping in his store in recent years and whose health had deteriorated of late after a long life spent consuming cigarettes and Diet Coke at remarkable rates, had passed overnight. He was 75 years old. News of his passing spread immediately, and throughout the weekend, on social media.

Portland, OR | Where We Live: Portland leads vinyl record resurgence: Younger generations are helping drive vinyl record sales past CD sales. Vinyl records are making a big comeback and Portland is leading the resurgence. Vinyl records were on track to outsell CDs in 2019 for the first time since 1986. But in Portland, the popularity of vinyl never really faded. Jackpot Records in Portland’s funky Hawthorne District is one of the businesses helping vinyl remain a viable source of music. Shop owner Isaac Slusarenko said Jackpot Records has seen firsthand the steadily growing demand for vinyl records. “When we opened, we had about 50% vinyl, 50% CDs,” he said. “And now, we’re about 80% vinyl, 20% CDs.” The number of vinyl sales is rising but 80% of consumers still get their music through digital downloads. Still, more and more audiophiles are going old school. Slusarenko said the preference of vinyl over digital files is comparable to a physical book versus a Kindle publication. “I love being able to read lyrics and song titles and hold it — it just becomes something that you have an experience with,” he said. “And there’s a lot of great Portland bands that put out music on vinyl, too.”

Laconia, NH | The vinyl countdown: Records on the rebound: The phonograph record dates back to the 19th century, and is one of Thomas Edison’s contributions to modern life. Phonographs dominated the recorded music market for decades, until cassettes and compact discs came onto the scene. But like his light bulbs, phonograph records are proving to be one of Edison’s enduring inventions. MP3 players, and then streaming music services, spelled the end of the CD’s dominance. The phonograph never went away, though, and vinyl is again on the rise. The Recording Industry Association of America has been reporting an increase in vinyl record sales since 2006, with the most recent revenue report showing $224 million in sales in the first half of 2019. Why would Americans spend so much on new vinyl records when streaming services allow for instant access to just about any music, and for free in some cases? There’s just no replacing the experience of listening to music on a vinyl record, said Dan Mack. “Certain things open up and sound better,” said Mack, a member of the Michael Vincent Band. He’s been a vinyl aficionado for years, and over the past two years has sought to capitalize on the renewed interest in the centuries-old technology through his business, NH Vintage Vinyl, which buys and sells used vinyl records.

Big Star’s First Two Albums Reissued, Analog Remastered Vinyl: Like a lot of you out there in audiophile-land (and record collecting land for that matter), I have never had an “original” pressing of the now-revered and once-ignored first albums by indie rock legends Big Star. They were hard to find in 1972 and only became more sought after as the group grew in stature in the 1980s. So after years of CD-only listening I jumped at an opportunity a number of years ago to get some vinyl reissues of Big Star’s #1 Record and Radio City when I saw them going for about twelve bucks each at Amoeba Music. Upon playing them, I was not thrilled. Immediately those rumors I’d heard that vinyl records were being mastered off of CDs came to mind. It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t revelatory and the pressings were noisy. I could not play them loudly as they sounded harsh and — well — digital, a trebly texture that taxes my ears. This was especially evident when I came to the gorgeous song “Thirteen” which were plagued by distortion and other groove noise.

Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack Is the 3rd Highest Selling Vinyl Record of the Decade: James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 soundtrack is the third highest selling vinyl record of the decade. The director shared the surprising news on social media after Nielson Music SoundScan released their end of the decade report. Records have come back in a major way over the past ten years for music fans who like to hold something tangible in their hands as opposed to streaming and the mostly-dead world of CDs. Nielsen Music SoundScan is an information and sales tracking system that tracks music and video sales in the United States and Canada. The data is collected weekly and the decade list was just revealed. The list finds that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has found itself as a big contender in the vinyl business. James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy is the third highest selling vinyl album in the last ten years, which is pretty big. It’s only behind The Beatles’ Abbey Road and Pink Floyd’s iconic Dark Side of the Moon album.

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